I’ve been a Republican for 35 years. I stayed faithful despite moving to one of the most aggressively Democratic regions in the nation. I stayed faithful through the Watergate fiasco and even ran as a Republican candidate in its aftermath. I remained faithful as the Reagan revolution marginalized my kind of Republican, the socially libertarian. I remained a Republican (although I found myself voting for more independent and Democratic candidates) as Pat Robertson sent his stealth delegates into party caucuses and the “Moral Majority” took control.In recent years I’ve ruefully stayed a Republican because there was no practical, independent party alternative.Â I kept my temper by writing pointed criticism of Republican foibles and much worse in columns in a local tabloid.This year I turned double nickels. I’m 55 years old. For years friends have urged me to become a Democrat. Sometime in the last month or two it finally dawned on me that my points-of-view, even ones most Democrats would disagree with, would be far more generously received in the Democratic Party. I’d like to think, that being the majority of American citizens, we moderates still have some relevance. If the Republicans won’t have us, Nay, if they actively try to discourage and remove us from their ranks…well, there is only one serious alternative for us other than going off to sulk in a corner. That alternative is the Democratic Party! It has a rich tradition, wonderful heroes, and for those of us who do not regard the word “liberal” as an imprecation, an important legacy to build America’s future on.
Today I am a Democrat. I can not erase the last thirty-five years of my life so I bequeath my memories, fond and otherwise, to the Republican Party. Perhaps the GOP can find some use for them. I will not be going into the Democratic Party alone, however. I’m taking Abraham Lincoln with me. I am a Lincoln-Democrat.